Monday, 25 March 2013

The Stigmata: St Faustina

The Stigmata

Saint Faustina

Born into this world on August 25th, 1905 in Glogoweic, Poland, Maria Faustyna Kowalska was a Catholic Polish nun, mystic and visionary, known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy.

Sister Faustina had grown up in a poor family in Poland, that struggled to survive, they could barely afford food let alone and education, and because of this young Maria only received about 3 years of schooling, enough to learn to read and write, but not much more.

At the age of 20 she joined a convent in Warsaw and was soon moved to Plock and then to Vilnius. In Vilnius she met Father Michael Sopocko, who would become her confessor.

Faustina reported an umber of visions throughout her lifetime, but suffered most of them silently, with only the Mother superior and her confessor knowing the facts, it wasn’t until much later that the other sisters who she lived with found out about her incredible visions of Jesus and other supernatural gifts.
In February 1931, on the 22nd, Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina to bring to her a wonderful message of mercy for all men. She wrote this in her diary about the experience:

"In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord
Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing,
the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening
of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one
red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord;
my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After
a while Jesus said to me, 'paint an image according to the pattern
you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'

the Lord spoke to her again some time later and said:

"The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous;
the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These
two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at
that time when My agonising Heart was opened by a lance on the
Cross....Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for
the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."

Faustina's writings later became a book called “Diary: divine Mercy In My Soul”

Faustina had entered the convent in 1925, and for the next 13 years she was graced with extraordinary gifts, including Biolocation, visions, Stigmata, revelations, the reading of souls, prophecy and many more.
Despite all these gifts, Faustina knew that they did not constitute sanctity, and in her diary wrote of them

Pope John Paul II at the shrine of Divine Mercy
 in Krakow on June 7, 1997, in front of the tomb of
 Sister Faustina and the image of the Merciful Jesus
"Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God"

Later Faustina and Father Sopocko hired an artist and through Faustina's visions the artist painted the first “Divine Mercy Image” which was completed in 1934 and was shown at the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter, which would later become known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

St. Faustina was declared the first Saint of the 21st Century, she was canonised in April 2000

© 2013 Allen Tiller

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